Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Louis-Ferdinand Celine

“I was virgin to horror when I signed up…” (September 11, 2009)


            It is Arthur’s fault. I was minding my own business. Arthur insisted on inviting me for a cup of espresso.  He was saying “People in Paris give the impression of being busy; in fact they go for walks from morning to evening. When the weather is not appropriate for walks, when it is too cold or too hot, you never see them on the streets or anywhere. They are in their homes drinking coffee. They say it is the century of speed, of great changes; where are they? People keep admiring one another; that is all.”  And then he said “I don’t like politics. If my country asks me to shed my blood then I will be ready. The French race is a good one.” I retorted “You are wrong. This supposed race is a collection of miserable people in transit who were hunted by hunger, cholera, and the cold and happened to settle here: they could not cross the sea.” Arthur said “Our forefathers were better than us and we owe them respect.”  I replied “We have never changed. We do not change our socks, our masters, or opinions. We are born loyal; free soldiers of talking chimps, and hero for the entire world. King Misery clamp down on us when we do not prove to be sensible.”  Arthur said “There is still love”.  I vehemently replied “Love is the infinite accessible only for poodles.  I have composed a poem titled Wings in Gold.

            A God counting the minutes and the pennies,

            A God desperate, sensual, and growling like a pig.

            A pig with gold wings that keeps falling everywhere,

            Stomach up, and ready to be caressed.

            It is He our Master. Let’s hug him.


            It happened that a Colonel mounted on a white horse was heading a regiment in front of the Café. People were throwing rice and flowers on them.  I followed this regiment until it started raining and people vanished from around this exhibition. I had second thought to leave the regiment but once you are caught in then there is no escape and I was stuck as war recruit or volunteer.

            Once you are in then you get used to your new life.  They made me ride horses for two months and then they demanded that I start walking. One morning, the orderly of the Colonel borrowed the Colonel horse and never showed up.  We are walking on the road and I saw two black dots at the end of the road.  They were firing at us; I realized they are Germans who have been firing at us for some time; they are evidently lousy shots. My Colonel must have known why these Germans were shooting at us; possibly the Germans knew also; I didn’t know anything. I have nothing against Germans: I studied with German kids with shifty pale blue eyes like the wolves. We drank sugary beer; but to end up firing at me! This is not nice.

            The Colonel resumed his walks, head high, as if nothing the matter.  And then one of the bullets scraped my head. In these kinds of stories there is nothing to do but to flee. I never in my life felt so useless; a universal joke.

            I was 20 of age and wandering in the countryside.  I was virgin in my passions and surely pretty virgin in matters of horrors. Farms were deserted as if the owners did not want to disturb our journey in and around their homes and lands. We sort of owned everything in the land, fruit trees, chariots, cows, and even a chained dog. I always hated the countryside.  When the bullets harassed me I swore that, I may got to be a hundred, I will never set foot on any kind of countryside. I got to thinking “If the residents were here then maybe we would not be shooting at one another”.


            Then it dawned on me.  My Colonel is an idiot; he is a monster and worst than a dog; he could not imagine his death; he lacks imagination; he cannot visualize death.  There must be millions of idiot officers; that is why this imbecile of a war is going on. Am I the only coward in this world amid thousands of “heroic” kids wearing their metal outfits and behaving more enraged than dogs?


            I am more scared of our soldiers and officers than the enemy; more of us were shot and court marshaled by our own army than by the enemy; our officers always want to make example of courage! I don’t want to die my face in the mud, crap, and blood.  I don’t want to die in this desolate, dark, and cold environment.  I want to die differently. Am I not free to choose how I want to die too?


Note: This topic was selected from the first pages of the French novel “Journey at the end of the night” (Voyage au bout de la nuit) by Louis-Ferdinand Celine.

Modern Batch of Banned Manuscripts (April 20, 2009)


            Censuring of books was not the sole domain of the Vatican or other religious sacerdotal castes; the State governments, special associations “for preserving morals”, and other politically oriented organizations shared in restricting freedom of opinions.  Private court cases are preponderant at this age for extorting royalty fees or any other excuses such as safeguarding privacy.


            Gustave Flaubert published “Madame Bovary” in 1856 and the novel was deemed the worst scandal in that half of century. The French government realized that the novel represented the end of romanticism and the advent of reality of life in the provinces. Emma was no longer satisfied with her quaint life and wanted to experiment with her passions. The French State prosecutor banned “Madame Bovary”, “Les Fleurs du Mal” by Baudelaire, and “Mysteres du People” by Eugene Sue.  In 2007, a poll survey of the Anglo-Americans showed that “Madame Bovary” came second after “Anna Karenina” by Tolstoy.

            In 1863, the theologian Ernest Renan published “Life of Jesus”; it reconstructed the life of Jesus devoid of divine nature. It was an instant scandal and the manuscript was re-published 24 times before the end of 1864.  Renan was excommunicated after his death!

James Joyce published in 1918 “Ulysses”; it was an epic poem that recounts the peregrination of an Irish man, Leopold Bloom, in Dublin between 8 a.m. and 3 a.m.  One episode “Nausicaa” brought hell fire of censure from every corner.  Leopold courted a girl swimming nude during fire work and their orgasm coincided with the explosion of the “bouquet” of the fire work. The book “Ulysses” was persecuted by successive court orders for over ten years.

“Lady Chatterley’s Lover” by David H. Lawrence was published in 1928.  It disturbed the social order of class structure because an aristocratic lady deigned to become in love of her employee.  Even thirty-two years later, Britain would prosecute an Italian version.

“Tropics of Cancer” by Henry Miller was published in 1934 in Paris. It is about the personal sexual adventures of the author in minute details. For over 30 years no US publishers would dare touch this manuscript for “obscenity”. Miller’s “Sexus” was even banned in France between the years 1950 to 1964.

Louis-Ferdinand Celine published “Bagatelles pour un massacre”in 1937.  It was labeled hostile to Jews.  It enjoyed many editions during Nazi occupation of France but was never re-edited after 1945 on the ground that his widowed, Lucette Destouches, the sole owner of rights, wanted to respect the author’s wishes!  Celine had published the famous “Voyage au bout de la nuit”.

Nikos Kazantzakis published in Athens “The Last Temptation of Christ” in 1954. It relates a dream that Christ had while crucified of how it would have been his life among his wife and children. Christ would wake up from the dream and then He shouted “Everything is accomplished”.  It was 34 years later when projected as a movie by Martin Scorsese that all hell broke loose; movie theaters were attacked and burned; 14 of movie watchers were injured.

Christian Bourgois was declined by 13 editors before his first novel “L’Epi Monstre” is published in 1961; Christian has 21 years of age and that wrote the manuscript in 10 days. Christian was a nurse with the French army during the Algerian Revolution.  The story is about a communist widower who had incestuous relations with his two girls; one commits suicide and the other is killed by her father. The ban will be lifted in 2002.  Bougois published “Jeanne la Pudeur” and was also banned

Vassili Grossman (1905-1964) wrote “Life and Destiny”; he was a reporter for the Bolshevik daily “The Red Star” during the Second World War and witnessed the horrors of the war and detention centers. Vassili took precautions to leaving two microfilms of his manuscript with Andrei Sakharov and Vladimir Dimitrijevic.  The KGB had confiscated the manuscript, the carbon copy, and the typewriter ribbons.  “Life and Destiny” was published in 1980; it is in the genre of “War and Peace” of 800 pages that uncovers the resemblance of totalitarianism, the rejection of to all kinds of submissions, and the communication with “little people”.  It demonstrates the tyranny of the “Good” and how it can become an epidemic worst than “Evil”

“The Archipelago of Gulag” by Alexander Soljenitsyne was published in 1973 in Paris; it is a vast essay of literary investigation into concentration camps and testimonies of 227 detainees (zeks).  Soljenitsyne was expulsed from the Soviet Union and he wrote the next two volumes in the USA; he received the Nobel Prize of Literature in 1970 and then was received with full honor in Russia in 1994.  The manuscript was published in Russia in 1989.

During Nazi Germany occupation of France 714,000 books were burned in Paris.  The list of banned manuscripts started with 1060 and it kept climbing as Germany invaded Russia and then the US entered war.

Vladimir Nabokov published “Lolita” in 1955 in Paris for fear of being banned in the USA.  The manuscript had to wait until 1958 to be allowed to circulate in libraries. The story did not contain any pornographic descriptions and was recounted in Oxfordian exactitude about the love of a professor to his adoptive child after murdering her mother.

Before the latest wave of outcries for child molesting Tony Duvert published “Paysage de Fantaisie” in 1973 about his experience and inclinations for young boys and received the Medicis Prize for it.  Olivier Petre-Grenouilleau published “Traites Negrieres” where he claims that the Moslem’s Slave trades in Africa far outnumbered the European trade; he did the unpardonable commentary when he discriminated the suffering of the Jews during Nazi Germany and the suffering of the slaves.  In 2008, Sylvain Gouguenheim published “Aristote au mont Saint-Michel” where his researched led him to clarify that Aristotle’s philosophy was accepted in Europe as the Arab translated it; 56 philosophers and historians signed a petition proclaiming that the manuscript is not scientific.




June 2023

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